Work/Study: Get to know Emily Wolfe!

[Editor’s Note: Emily Wolfe first entered into the DX family through our Summer Institute 2014, and we have been continuing to find ways to keep her around. This past fall she was a Work/Study at Dance Exchange and assisted in stewarding and caring for the facilities, working alongside Business Manager and Acting Managing Director Susan Goode, and joined the facilitation team for our local residency along New Hampshire Avenue. In exchange, Emily received free class! Since the start of the new year, Emily has taken an internship position at Gibney Dance in NYC; we wish her the best, and look forward to future intersections! If you would like more information about the Work/Study program at Dance Exchange, email Matthew at– M.C.]

Emily Wolfe in 'New Hampshire Ave: This Is a Place To...'. Photo by Ben Carver.

MC: I’m curious about your life before Dance Exchange: what were you doing? What brings you to DC?
EW: Before the Dance Exchange and DC, I was in school in Tallahassee, Florida, at Florida State University pursuing my BFA in Dance. After rehearsing, performing, and creating for four years, I graduated in May 2014. During my senior year at FSU, I met Liz Lerman when she was in residency at the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography (MANCC) while she was developing Healing Wars. I had the opportunity to work as her rehearsal assistant, then as a production assistant as the show premiered here this past June in DC at the Arena Stage.

Emily at FSU.

MC: What drew you to Dance Exchange? To the Work/Study program?
EW: After being immersed in and assisting Liz Lerman’s process, I was hungry for more. This led my exploration to the 2014 DX Summer Institute, which was an incredible opportunity to participate in. It was life changing through the open communication and conversations, intergenerational interaction, and creative tools. The collaborative processes and ways of using movement to understand difficult things validated and expanded everything I had thought about the purpose of dance in my life. It was like I found the people who spoke the same creative language as me, and then continued to teach me the grammar and application of this language and how create the platform for all people to communicate through this language.

Since then, I’ve wanted to do anything it takes to give my time and energy to this place that I believe in, to this place and the people that I feel have already given me so much in the short time that I’ve been here. I want to be supportive and involved with the DX in any ways I can, even if it means sweeping and mopping the studios, wiping mirrors, cleaning trash, organizing space, and scrubbing the toilets. Haha. Doing so, though, allows me the opportunity to earn space in Friday CLASS, which is the best part of the week and where I can also give my kinetic, artistic energy.

MC: What kinds of things have you been doing as a Work/Study?
EW: I feel as though all of my moments at the Dance Exchange have been meaningful and exciting thus far.I feel fortunate to have been a part of the Summer Institute, Friday Class, as well as the New Ave Project. The New Ave Project was an exciting opportunity to work artistically with Cassie and the DX staff while ideas and connections are beginning to bloom along the New Hampshire Ave. I loved the collaborative and open process as well as working with other DX artists and the Takoma Park community. Being able to connect artistically with the Dance Exchange has been my favorite part about being in DC.

Emily on the Mall.

MC: Being relatively new to DC, what has been a highlight (in DC or at DX..or both)?
EW: One other experience has been outstanding for me in DC was the opportunity to see the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig at the Kennedy Center in the most incredible seats. They played Mendelssohn Violin Concerto and Bruckner Symphony No.7. I have never had such a phenomenal live music experience… I was moved to tears.

MC: What do you think you will be taking away from this experience?
EW: From this experience as a work/study, I’ve gained the ability and want to sustain cleanliness of the place of work and play for the benefit of all. I’ve also realized my ability to give to a place I care about from several different angle. To give to receive, to exchange.

About Matthew Cumbie

Matthew Cumbie (Associate Artistic Director) is a dance artist and collaborator who currently lives in Washington, DC.